Futuristic cities on water have been a long-cherished dream among the world’s science fiction writers. The concept, named Seasteading, however, can no longer be called fiction if Blue Frontiers, a Singapore-based start-up looking to build the world’s first fully floating community in the turquoise waters of a Tahitian lagoon, get their way.
Blue Frontiers, founded “in 2017 by the executive team and ambassadors of The Seasteading Institute - including its Executive Director, its Seavangelist, a Belarusian businessman, a former Polynesian government minister, and a French entrepreneur”, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the French Polynesian government to build a $60-million floating village on the south side of the main island of Tahiti, with a prospective starting date of 2020.
The village is anything but an ordinary residential and commercial space. Owing to the amount of science and research that will go into developing something of this scale, the village or city will serve as a testbed for technologies that will be needed to create much larger floating communities.
Tahiti’s floating village will be just inside the island’s protective coral reef, in water about 100 feet deep some 1,000 yards from shore. Tentative plans support accommodation for 200-300 people in apartments, and workspaces for them as well. Each floating platform is expected to be the size of a baseball diamond, all inter-connected by walkways.
Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that is the driving force behind the whole plan, expects the floating village to thrive through a combination of eco-tourism and new aquatic industries like seaweed farming and wave power.
Another interesting dynamic that the seastead in question will demonstrate is that it will be somewhat exempt from the control of any particular government. The village will be part of a special economic sea-zone that will enable it to conduct its own research and experiments without any cross-border or cross country conflicts getting the way.
“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a start-up country,” Mr Quirk told the New York Times, explaining his disillusionment with current governments that “just don’t get better”, and are stuck in the past.
Seasteading could open up a host of new possibilities and opportunities for the world, the beginnings of which can only be speculated right now. The project is set to commence construction as early as 2018, and start operations by as early as 2020.